Natural Ways to Boost Your Energy Levels
It seems everyone you speak to these days is complaining about how tired they feel. Even young people are feeling lethargic and experiencing lower energy levels than usual. This could be a result of stress, a poor diet, lack of exercise, or a million other reasons but the real question is: what can be done about it? We look at some natural alternatives that may help to boost energy levels.
Limit Processed Foods
Your diet may be the reason behind your mood and energy levels. Feeling tired, sluggish and low in energy may often be connected to poor eating habits. Food is fuel and the body needs it to perform at its best. Eating whole, natural foods is often a better choice than much of the processed options soaked in sugar and fat that are available on supermarket shelves these days. The reason for this is because many healthy foods have a low glycemic index (GI). This means there are sugars in these foods that the body takes longer to absorb. The slower absorption process is what stops us from experiencing that energy crash that we feel after we have eaten processed, refined or simple sugars. Look for healthy fats like nuts, avocados, chia seeds and other healthy oils like olive oil. Prioritize lean protein (eat red meat in moderation), and look for sources like chicken or white fish. For carbohydrate sources, it's best to look for foods with a lower glycemic index. These include complex carbs like brown rice or whole grain sandwiches for your lunch break. Vegetables that are high in fiber can also act as a natural energy booster. If you are not sure what foods have a high or low GI, remember this rule of thumb: Foods that are carbohydrate-rich will generally have a higher glycemic index. Healthy fats and protein sources have very low glycemic indexes. Avoiding processed foods and sticking to whole, natural foods may help to stabilize blood sugar levels and avoid unnecessary dips in energy levels.
Despite all the options we have available for expensive sports drinks, the only nutrient that has actually been shown to enhance performance is water. Good old H20. Most people know that if we don't eat enough food, we may start feeling tired or experience a dip in our energy naturally. What many people don't know is that if your body is short of fluids, one of the first signs may be a feeling of fatigue or low energy. Drinking when you feel thirsty may be a good idea but to avoid a dip in energy levels and stay hydrated, make a conscious effort to drink more, especially in hot weather or if you are being very active. There is nothing as satisfying as a cool glass of water when you feel sluggish or need a quick pick me up. It may leave you feeling refreshed and provide you with a little more energy than before.
A drink here or there is often not a problem but if you often experience a midafternoon slump, it might be worth avoiding an alcoholic drink with your lunch, try drinking ice tea or green tea. Alcohol has a sedative effect and is said to be stronger at midday. If you need to have high energy levels or if you just want to moderate your energy levels naturally, be sure to monitor your alcohol intake and how you feel after having a drink.
Get Enough Sleep
Many of us lead busy lives. Work and family life can be demanding. Often, the last thing we pay attention to is our sleep patterns and as a result, we often may feel tired, fatigued, lethargic, and grumpy. Poor sleep or missing out on crucial sleep time may affect everything from your mood to your mental health. To increase energy levels, it is recommended that most people get around 7 - 8 hours of shut eye per night. That is considered a good night. Depending on the person, some people may need a little more or a little less sleep to avoid feeling fatigue. Getting good quality sleep the night before may be one of the best natural ways to boost energy throughout the day. Many people find it difficult to fall asleep. If this is something you struggle with, you may want to try implementing a bedtime routine or mindfulness practices that may help you wind down from a busy day and achieve better sleep. Relaxing before bed may help you to start feeling tired and aid your body in the sleep process. In turn, it may reduce fatigue and contribute to good health overall. Examples of relaxing behaviors could be having a warm bath, meditation, reading a book or getting into bed a little earlier than usual. Avoiding screen time before bed may also be helpful because this has been shown to possibly linked to poor sleep quality, lack of sleep, and increased drowsiness through the day.
Get Regular Exercise
One of the best natural ways to boost energy levels, improve mental health and care for your body may be to get enough exercise in. Moving your body may play a huge role in the way we feel physically and mentally. Even if you feel tired, a quick session at the gym, outside in the fresh air or even at home may increase energy naturally and leave you feeling refreshed and happy! Exercise may be a great form of health care and at the same time, self-care.
Quit or Avoid Smoking
Studies have shown that smoking is bad for our health. Studies show that it may increase the risk of many health conditions and it may reduce the efficiency of our lungs. If we do not get enough oxygen to our brains, we are left feeling tired. Smoking affects the amount of oxygen transported around your body. Many smokers will complain about constant low energy levels, fatigue and feeling lethargic. For these people, the best thing they can do for their health is to quit smoking. Cigarettes can be difficult to quit so some find it helpful to use nicotine replacements, like gum or nicotine patches.. If you are struggling to kick the habit and quit, reach out to your doctor who can provide medical advice and point you in the direction of the support services that can help.
Our modern lives are fraught with stress. We may often be busy, anxious or overwhelmed. Often when we have been stressed for prolonged periods, we may experience feeling tired and feeling lethargic or fatigued. This may be normal, however with some stress management, could be avoided. While we cannot remove sources of stress from our lives completely, we should try to minimize lifestyle related stress. In turn, it could help to naturally increase energy levels. Some of these strategies may include taking “me-time,” reading a good book, or going for a walk. These are enjoyable activities and at the same time, may serve to help to reduce stress and boost your mood. Normal stress can be managed, but it’s important to note that if you feel very stressed you may need to seek medical and psychological support.
Take Dietary Supplements
Eating a well-balanced diet full of whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats as well as getting regular exercise may be the best way to manage energy levels and blood sugar but it's not always as easy as it sounds. Thankfully, there are many dietary supplements we may want to try for an energy boost. B vitamins, especially vitamin B12 and B6, Green Tea Extract, and iron, are just some of the natural supplements that may help with energy levesl. There are many other supplements available for consideration, however it may be beneficial to discuss with a health care provider.
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